China's 2017 exports rose 10.8% in yuan terms - imports jumped 18.7%

Chinese trade picked up last year on the back of a strong global economy

China benefited from increasing momentum in the wider global economy a year ago: the country's overall exports increased 11 percent, according to government data.

According to China's General Administration of Customs, the nation's trade surplus rose to $US54.69 billion last month, well above the $US40.21 billion level of November and forecasts for a decrease to $US37 billion.

Chinese trade has been unexpectedly strong in the face of forecasts that economic growth will cool as Beijing tightens controls on credit to slow a rise in debt.

Trade with China is politically sensitive as the world's second-largest economy runs surpluses against many of its trading partners.

Last month's arrivals of unwrought copper, which includes anode, refined, and semi-finished copper products stood at 450,000 tonnes, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data released on Friday.

"Import growth will slow too as China's economic expansion slows amid weaker investment in manufacturing and property".

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Trade growth momentum is waning as both exports and imports fell in December. For comparison, the previous record was a surplus of $260.8 billion in 2015. China's December trade surplus with the US was $25.55 billion, compared to $27.87 billion in November.

A commerce ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, said at a briefing on Thursday that China will "adopt all measures necessary to firmly protect the country's lawful interests and rights, should the US perversely take unilateral protectionist actions". His administration has slapped anti-dumping tariffs on a range of Chinese imports, such as aluminum and steel, and toughened its stance on Chinese investment in the U.S.

"Export growth declined slightly last month but remained healthy".

While GAC spokesperson Huang Songping attributed the growth to external forces, such as the global economy recovery and rising commodity prices, a closer look at the data reveals changes to China's domestic economy.

"In terms of how big of an impact it (falling trade) had on North Korea, there was definitely impact because some of their products could only go to China while others could only be imported from China", said Chen Fengying, an economics expert at state-backed China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

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